What is Thinking Science?

Thinking Science Australia is a two-year intervention program consisting of 30 lessons designed to accelerate learners’ cognitive function.

Cognitive Acceleration through Science Education (CASE) was developed in the UK and was originally designed to accelerate students’ level of thinking so that they would be better able to cope with the demands of the science curriculum.  The evidence base for Thinking Science Australia shows a noticeable improvement in students’ ability, not only in Science but in English and Mathematics also. 

As well as improving cognitive performance, Thinking Science Australia allows students to gain an appreciation for the phenomena of science; a practical understanding of concrete concepts and improved confidence and participation due to its carefully planned delivery.

The Thinking Science Australia program is built around five core principles, which are embedded into each lesson as set phases:

Concrete preparation - Involves the teacher establishing a problem for the students to consider and to negotiate any associated ideas and terminology needed for the students to understand the problem.

Cognitive conflict - A process whereby students are encouraged to think about the problem in a way that challenges their conventional ways of thinking.  Students are encouraged to consider a range of possible explanations for the problem.

Social construction - The shared development of explanations of and understandings about the problem and potential solutions.  Teachers play a role in asking probing questions of students but not offering solutions.  Active participation by all students is required, as all are expected to offer explanations and solve problems.

Metacognition - Requires students reflecting on their thinking and articulating their approaches taken to problem solving.  This stage enables other students to access other ways of thinking and evaluating.

Bridging - Involves the student and teacher working together to apply the ideas developed in the lesson to other problems in the real world.  Associated science lessons can be used to help reinforce and remind students about the range of problem-solving strategies and ways of thinking they have developed

For more information about Thinking Science Australia, visit the University of Western Australia’s website for Thinking Science Australia. http://www.education.uwa.edu.au/tsa